Working paper

Aggregation Across Each Nation: Aggregator Choice and Macroeconomic Dynamics

Published on 9 December 2022
Authors : Noëmie Lisack, Simon Lloyd, Rana Sajedi

Working Paper Series no. 894. We study the implications of trade aggregation in an infinite-horizon economy with multiple countries, asking whether there is a role for alternatives to the Armington aggregator in a wide range of workhorse open-economy macroeconomics models. We show analytically that the first-order dynamics of the model are entirely captured by a few sufficient statistics. Over and above these statistics, the precise choice of functional form for the trade aggregator is irrelevant. This result has the following implications. For given steady-state trade elasticities and expenditure shares, any aggregator that is homogeneous of degree one is equivalent to the Armington aggregator at first order. Similarly, aggregators that are homogeneous of arbitrary degree are equivalent to a simple generalisation of the Armington aggregator, for given steady-state trade elasticities and expenditure shares. In models with more than two countries, alternative aggregators can play a role by allowing for steady-state differences in bilateral trade elasticities across different country pairs, which the Armington aggregator rules out.